Guide to Defective Products Litigation in EMEA

October 2018

If you manufacture, produce, distribute or sell products you are responsible for ensuring they are safe and free from defects that may cause damage or injury. Failure to meet your responsibilities, resulting in damage, injury or death caused by a defect in your product, could have serious consequences including heavy fines and imprisonment, not to mention the loss of business revenue. Understanding the laws and regulations that concern defective products and the liabilities that may result is, therefore, vital for any company doing business across Europe, Middle East and Africa.

The trend in many countries has been to strengthen consumers’ levels of protection in respect of defective products, particularly within the EU.  Whilst a consumer may recover damages for losses caused by negligent acts or omissions, there are important differences between jurisdictions as to how principles of fault liability are applied. For example, in civil law jurisdictions, the burden of proof is often reversed once a defect and damage is proved and a defendant must prove that it was not negligent. In contrast, in common law jurisdictions, the burden generally rests on the claimant to prove all aspects of the claim.

Meritas, the premier global alliance of independent law firms, has produced a Guide To Defective Products Litigation in EMEA that asks these and other key questions and provides answers as they relate to 30 countries across EMEA. Colin Hayes, of Whitney Moore, produced the Irish chapter (p59-62) of this comprehensive Guide.